Despite same-sex marriages being legal across America, couples are still facing legal hurdles on their way to the altar. In some states across the nation, lawmakers are passing legislation that allows clergy to refuse to marry same-sex partners as well as giving businesses the right to refuse to rent their facilities or provide services to same-sex couples. Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas have passed laws or are close to finalizing legislation that allow discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community.
While federal law prohibits discrimination in employment or public accommodation based on race, religion, sex, age, national origin, or disability, there are no federal laws in place to specifically protect those in the LGBT community. State and local governments have the authority to decide laws concerning public accommodation in their jurisdiction. While 21 states have passed laws that protect those in the LGBT community, 30 states have not, leaving the choice to discriminate against same-sex couples in the hands of the general public.
Those in support of laws allowing discrimination say that it is the right of a pastor or business to refuse to officiate or offer their services to same-sex couples if doing so would violate their moral or religious beliefs. Court cases involving refusal of services are being heard across the country with an emphasis on public accommodation protections. One case in Colorado involved a bakery that refused to provide a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. The court decided that the bakery was in violation of the state’s public accommodation law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Another bakery in Oregon faced a similar charge and was fined.
Those in the LGBT community are calling for federal protections that would prohibit discrimination against same-sex couples. Since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in July of 2015, social acceptance of gay marriages has increased, however the need to update anti-discrimination laws has been an ever growing concern. While the LGBT community leads the way through this process, gay couples wishing to head to the altar may have to endure discrimination in some states that have made it legal.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Represent Same-Sex Couples Facing Discrimination
Maryland state law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC are committed to protecting the legal rights of same-sex couples and assisting clients in all areas of LGBT family law issues. Call us at 443-589-0150, or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. With offices located in Hunt Valley, Pikesville, and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore County, Harford County, Carroll County, and Howard County as well as the towns of Essex, Columbia, and Bel Air.